What we do and presuppose when we demonstrate

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In this paper, we defend that demonstratives are expressions of joint attention. Though this idea is not exactly new in the philosophical or linguistic literature, we argue here that their proponents have not yet shown how to incorporate these observations into more traditional theories of demonstratives. Our purpose is then to attempt to fill this gap. We argue that coordinated attentional activities are better integrated into a full account of demonstratives as meta-pragmatic information. Our claim is twofold. First, we claim that pragmatically presupposing salience is a fundamental aspect of using demonstratives. Secondly, we hold that the pragmatics of demonstrating can only be properly understood in relation to meta-pragmatic conditions that have to do with joint attention. We use tests of truth-value gap as evidence for our claim. Our proposal provides us with a complete view of what speakers do and presuppose when engaging in acts of demonstrative reference through language.
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Archival date: 2021-01-13
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